Ingenuity? Yeah, we got a bunch of that out in the wood shed.

Innovation. It’s a word usually associated with large companies. Corporations with hundreds, if not thousands, of employees. Scores of designers and engineers in research and development, and budgets for such things that would stagger the imagination.  We are but a handful of average Joes. Small in numbers, but innovative none the less.  Ours is a personal quest. We have accomplished what we have by sheer determination and the will to work with what we have available to us.   We have done so without major sponsorships.  We have had to! We have no choice but to continue this project utilizing the funding we have available, which, when compared to the majority of  our fellow competitors, is a drop in the proverbial bucket.  We, as a team, are forced to think “outside the box”.  Hell, for that matter, we have to step back, look at the “box” and see if we can manipulate it or any part of it to advance our progress.

There are so many aspects of this car that have come from such thinking. Our building techniques have been creative to say the least. Creative, but effective. We have built the majority of this car utilizing the simple tools available to us. The most high tech piece of equipment we had available to us was a Plasma Cutter, and that thing broke on us a few months ago!  We’ve had to come up with intuitive ways to cut, bend, shape, level, attach, combine, and connect nearly every piece of our puzzle.  “How can we bend this steel tubing to achieve this particular ellipse shape for the front end?” Well, we don’t have a fancy mandrel bender….. How did they manage such things in the old days? FIRE! We have plenty of fire! We’ll make a template of our desired ellipse out of…..oh, some of that plywood over there, and then we can heat our steel in the wood stove (which we use to heat our workshop), clamp it all solid, and bend the cherry red steel around our template!  It may not be perfect, but each of the 10 curves we made were with in 1/16th of an inch of each other.

It’s this kind of thinking and problem solving that have allowed us to advance in this competition. What is available to us and how can we use it to solve the next challenge of the build?

Another example:

We know we need venting for our battery box. We know about where we need the venting to exit the battery box. We know how to cut a hole in the side of the car. Now…..what do we use to cover that hole so as to not allow excessive amounts of road debris and rain water into the car?  Simple mesh? Nah, that’s ugly. We need something with at least a hint of design. Something that will fit in with our 30’s-40’s airflow style. This is what we came up with. It was cut off of an item that Kevin had laying around in his old wood shed.  Care to take a guess as to it’s origin?

Hint: We have 2 of them, one for each side vent, but they were both removed from a single object.

Cheers!

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